The Easter Man
The Germans and the British are at war in this historical fiction detective story, set to a World War I backdrop. As tensions continue to rise, German sympathizer groups are growing and one, in particular, has plans for something big in New York City. Berlin is sending over a young chemist, Peter Schwegel, who developed a special design of bomb to send a message to America to stay out of the war.
On the opposite side of Schwegel’s long journey sits John Nolan. Now happily married, with a child on the way, John sits at a desk as an accountant out of harm’s way, though a part of him misses the excitement of investigating. So what started as a gentle favor by an accountant turned into hints about a large plot headed for New York and, after some convincing of his wife, he very quickly finds himself back on the case.
The Easter Man is a friendly detective story that would suit a variety of readers in its quick pace and easy writing style. John Nolan has the aura of a very likable local detective consultant; a smart and capable family man. Concise and sweet, the plot does not lull, and the pace and action kick up simultaneously in the back half of the novel as the dramatic tension between the two main characters is about to come to a head.
As Schwegel gets closer to making landfall in NYC, he only grows in confidence and a coldness for war, while Nolan goes deeper undercover toward the center ring of the group. What they uncover is an engineered plot to place several bombs and explode them simultaneously on Easter Sunday, intending to be warning shots to the U.S. government. Periodically in danger, Nolan has to use his instincts in order to piece together the remaining hints of the mission before the Easter Man fulfills his plans and put a stop to it. The way the characters are written provides this novel with the foundation elements of a fun detective story: the good hero to root for and the villain to dislike. With the relaxed feel of a hobbyist’s series, the enjoyment the author has in developing Nolan as a character and the cases he will uncover shines through, and I suspect there will be more adventures to come.
|Hampshire House Publishing Co.
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